Resume Essentials

Initial Considerations

The goal of your resume is to get an interview with the employer of your choice. Most employers will spend between 6-8 seconds looking at a resume. Therefore, it is usually best to keep it to one page and to make every word count. The main strength of the resume is the service you can provide for the employer.

The ABCs of the Resume

  • Accuracy: be honest and specific
  • Brevity: hit the highlights with action verbs; do not write in long sentences or paragraphs
  • Clarity: invest time in layout and design; your grammar, spelling, and appearance should be flawless

Taking Your Resume from “Good” to “Great”


Resume Content

Once you write your resume, use this Resume Rubric to evaluate your resume.

Resume Layout and Design

Avoid using templates: usually outdated, too restrictive for future editing, too lengthy because of excess white space.

  • Your layout and design depends upon your employment.
  • Your page should be balanced. An accountant or engineer will want to have a very classic and conservative presentation. A creative designer or a musician will want to employ a more adventurous and stylish presentation.
  • Check out the resume examples to give you an idea of how to start.
  • If you decide to print your resume, use the highest quality paper. You cannot give too much attention to detail.


Customize your resume for the position. Design your cover letter to match your resume (font styles and design). Prepare a separate list of references to give when requested. If you have a portfolio, streamline it, and know it. Attend an interview workshop and seek interview coaching. Posting your resume on Career Central, BJU’s online job board, will greatly improve your exposure.

Scannable Resumes

Some employers are beginning to use technology and software packages to sort through the multitude of resumes they receive for a particular opening. Note the following guidelines:

  • Don’t use any special formatting like bullets, tabs, boxes, indents, shading, etc.
  • Use a basic font like Arial and font size between 11 and 12
  • Keep your contact information at the top using separate lines for your name, address, phone number, email, etc.
  • Only use capital letters for section headings
  • Save as a plain text file in a PDF format
  • Print it on regular, 8 1/2 x 11 white paper (don’t fold or staple)
  • Don’t abbreviate words
  • Describe your experiences using similar words that are found in the employer’s job description



ResumeAdvisingService-SignResume Advising Service

To receive timely assistance with your resume, current students and alumni are welcome to email your polished draft to Career Services. We will gladly review your draft and provide professional advice.